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Federation Internationale de Football Association chief Infantino to attend Confederations Cup match in Kazan
18 Junio 2017, 03:58 | Gerardo Tarin
Whoever wins the match but the eventual winners might not want to get too excited as the Confederations Cup champions have never gone on to win the following year's World Cup.
The new football arena in St. Petersburg is hosting the opening and final matches of the Confederations Cup, also dubbed as the Tournament of Champions.
The cup's mascot, Zabivaka the Wolf, made a spectacular appearance, descending into the arena on a cloud-turned-air balloon.
Matches will be held at the stadiums, which next year will take the mundial. The opening match of the FIFA Confederations Cup between Russian and New Zealand football teams has started in St. Petersburg.
"I liked New Zealand's team but luckily we managed to cancel out their strengths and displayed ours, and that was the key to our win tonight", Cherchesov said.
New Zealand is not a frequent guest of the Confederations Cup.
Stanislav Cherchesov says Vladimir Putin's rousing speech at the FIFA Confederations Cup opening ceremony gave Russian Federation extra motivation to defeat New Zealand. Russian Federation have also been paired with European champions Portugal and Mexico in Group A, two teams with significant pedigree and better squads.
Weak defending also allowed Russia'sFedor Smolov to slip past the All Whites and tap in a low cross by team-mate Alexander Samedov to confirm the win in the 69th minute.
It is the probably the second major tournament after the FIFA World Cup and this year Russian Federation is about to host this tournament.
"Here, on modern football arenas there will be tough, honest, fair fight until the last minutes of the match", Putin said in Russian, adding that the eight-team, two-week event would "unite nations and continents, to promote the values of fair and handsome play".
"The clashes between the fans in Marseille past year were ugly", Alexei Sorokin, the CEO of Russia's organizing committee, told AFP in a recent interview.
Germany's Confederations Cup campaign opens against Australia in the Black Sea resort of Sochi where people in blackface wearing African clothing and carrying bananas marched in a government-parade last month.
Russia, who are ranked 63rd as per the latest Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, come into the game against the All Whites following a series of impressive warm-up games against Hungary, which they won 3-0, and Chile, where they were successful in holding their vastly superior Confed Cup participants to a 1-1 draw.
Mexico has won five of its last six matches, with a 2-1 home loss to Croatia in a friendly in May.
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